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Quick Tip: Adjust the Color of Water in After Effects

Charles Yeager

Learn how to easily adjust the color tone of water in your footage using Adobe After Effects. Includes free project file!

In this After Effects tutorial, we are going to look at some quick and effective ways to adjust the color tone of water in our footage. Whether it’s a river, pond, or ocean, water can sometimes take on various color tones that are not very appealing. This can be a result of many factors, such as time of day, algal growth, or plain old mud.

Quick Tip: Adjust the Color of Water in After Effects — Color Tone

Using the Hue and Saturation effect and some basic masks in After Effects, we will add a teal/blue tone back into the water in our footage. (Note: you can use the color techniques from this tutorial for more than just water. You can also use them to change the hue of a blue sky or fields of green grass, etc.)

Quick Tip: Adjust the Color of Water in After Effects — Hue and Saturation

For more complicated shots including objects in the water, lots of shadows, or camera movement, we can use the native Keylight effect in After Effects to separate the water from the original footage. This allows us to apply the Hue and Saturation effect only on the water, preventing unwanted color alterations to other parts of the image.

Quick Tip: Adjust the Color of Water in After Effects — Native Keylight

Alternatively, if creating blue water isn’t your thing, you can create all kinds of trippy color looks by adjusting the Master Hue dial on the Hue and Saturation effect. (Hint: easy way to create a toxic spill.)

Quick Tip: Adjust the Color of Water in After Effects — Master Hue

Ready? Let’s dive into the tutorial. (Make sure you download the free project file to follow along!)


Download the FREE Project File and Video Footage.

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